Ukraine makes new attempt to get civilians out of Mariupol, other cities

Ukrainian armed forces have agreed to stop firing in areas with these corridors between 9am and 9pm local time. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV (REUTERS) - Ukraine will on Wednesday (March 9) try to evacuate civilians through six “humanitarian corridors”, including from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

She said in a video statement that Ukrainian armed forces had agreed to stop firing in those areas from 9am until 9pm (3pm Wednesday to 3am Thursday Singapore time) and urged Russian forces to fulfil their commitment to local ceasefires.

Ms Vereshchuk said the corridors that would open would go from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia - both in south-eastern Ukraine; Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia - both in south-eastern Ukraine; north-eastern Sumy to central Poltava; Izyum to Lozova - both in eastern Ukraine; Volnovakha to Pokrovsk - both in eastern Ukraine; and from several towns around Kyiv which she identified as Vorzel, Borodyanka, Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel to the capital. 

“I appeal to the Russian Federation: You have undertaken official public commitments to cease fire from 9am to 9pm. We have had negative experiences when the commitments that were undertaken did not work,” Vereshchuk said.

She was referring to several failed attempts to open safe corridors for trapped civilians in the past few days. Each side blamed the other for their failure.

Civilians fled the besieged city of Sumy on Tuesday however, in the first successful "humanitarian corridor" opened since Russia's invasion.

Civilians in private cars started leaving the city again on Wednesday following the opening of the corridor, Sumy's Mayor Oleksandr Lysenko said in televised comments.

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